February 11, 2013

LeBron James: Getting it Done Down Low

By - Andy Garcia

It must be great to be LeBron James these days. The best player in the NBA is coming off a season that saw him finally get over the hump to win his first championship and his 3rd MVP award.

And it doesn't look like "The King" is slowing down any time soon.

With a 32-point performance on 12-for-18 shooting in a win against the Lakers on Sunday, LeBron became only the 3rd player ever to score 30+ points on at least 60% shooting in 5-straight games.

Photo by: Getty Images
It may not sound very difficult to accomplish, but if only Adrian Dantley, Moses Malone, and now LeBron James have been able to do it, then it obviously isn't. It must be acknowledged an impressive feat, no doubt.

Much attention and praise has been given lately to LBJ's high field goal percentage overall, but I do have a beef with that. My annoyance has nothing to do with LeBron himself. He is, without question, the best player in the world right now, and has only been getting better each and every year.

With that said, my problem with people making a big deal about his high shooting percentage is that the majority of his shots have been in close range. He makes his money in the paint.

During the 5-game record-setting span, LeBron has gone 55-for-77 from the field. That's a ridiculous 71.4%. Of those 77 shot attempts, 45 were in the key and 32 were outside the key. He shot 53.1% from outside, which is great, but not historical. The primary reason why LeBron has had such a high field goal percentage is due to the unbelievable 84.4% he's shot in the paint.

No matter how close in proximity the shot attempts are, he still has to make them, and I comprehend that. That is why I am not knocking LBJ for his red-hot performances of late. My annoyance is with people who act like he is shooting lights out.

Ever since last year's playoffs, LeBron finally figured out that he should be using his 6'8, 250-pound frame more to his advantage. He went from 46% of his FG attempts in the paint during the 2011 playoffs to 53% throughout the 2012 postseason.

He's been continuing with that strategy since then, and is shooting a career-high 56%, as a result. But once again, it isn't that James has been shooting better. Taking high-percentage shots is the reason for this.

Through this season, 50.5% of all of LBJ's field goal attempts have been in the paint. 31.5% have been jumpers outside the paint and only 17.9% have been beyond the arc. And of those attempts in the paint, he has converted 70.3% of them. However, LeBron is only shooting 40.9% outside the paint and 41.8% from downtown.

While those numbers from the paint are astonishing, those outside the paint aren't very impressive at all.

The bottom line is LeBron has been tremendously more efficient since leaning more on his post-up game and taking it to the hole. That's what he should have been doing from the get-go. He's not the greatest shooter around, but he's a physical freak of nature and that makes it easier for him to put the ball in the basket.

"The King" may very well be on his way to another MVP award and quite possibly back-to-back titles thanks in part to his new and improved game, but let's not crown him for being a great shooter.


  1. He's playing out of his mind right now. Without question the best player on the planet. The Heat are repeating.

  2. Best thing about this article is the picture. Nash getting run over, Howard just standing there being useless as usual, and Kobe in awe of LeBron. LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

  3. It's almost as if you are taking a little subtle jab at Lebron while trying to sound like you appreciate how he's playing. Maybe I'm just reading too much into it. You wouldn't happen to be a Laker fan would you? Lol

  4. Lebron is unstoppable now. If Wade stays healthy its all over. Back to back titles for the Heat.

  5. He's a man playing amongst boys. Can't be stopped. It's a joy to watch.

  6. Not a fan of Lebron, but I can't help but admire the way he's playing. He's been lights out of late.